GOLD RUSH, THE IMPACT OF MINING ON POOR PEOPLE
Ghana has been blessed with a lot of minerals including gold, diamond and bauxite. These have been mined over the years in various ways for the development of the country. Ghana’s huge mineral wealth is well known as the country is ranked ninth in the world for recognised gold deposits.
We often hear on news the death of illegal miners caused by a collapse cave or them being buried alive in collapse pits. Lands of these communities are deteriorating day-in day-out. One cannot underrate the dangers of chemicals used in mining in these communities as they pollute air and water such as change water colour, taste and give off bad smell, and make lands infertile to support plant growth. The pollution is not only dangerous to human life but the other living organisms which support human existence, thus, in turn destroying the ecosystem. It is also one of the factors contributing to the deforestation of the country’s forest reserves. Aside the stated above, there is prevalent high cost of living (very low living standards), poverty, lack of basic needs such as portable water, are among the threat pose to illegal mining communities.
According to Wikipedia, a galamsey is a local artisanal gold miner in West Africa. They operate by digging small pits and tunnels by hand in order to mine gold independently of mining companies. The increasing number of people mining illegally across the length and breadth of the country is alarming and the trail of environmental destruction left behind by this practice has assumed a position of national concern.
The root cause of this problem is a combination of social, economic and administrative issues. Low income, lack of regulatory enforcement, lack of education on environmental issues, difficulty in obtaining licenses and more worryingly, influence by high ranked individuals in the society are just a few of the causes. Destructive floods, high...
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